Show Menu

EQ tips Cheat Sheet by

Tips for equalization. By frequency, by instrument with a glossary.

EQ Frequency breakdown (1/2)

<= 30Hz
Virtually undete­ctable, you can safely cut these freque­ncies
Sub bass Freque­ncies. "­Fee­l" only
Add for tom "­boo­m". Cut to decrease bass "­boo­m"
Boost for the kick drum lower end to cut through the mix. Notch most other instru­ments here. Rolling off the electric guitar here is advisable
Boost bass instru­ments for presence. Boost will add warmth and fullness to guitars, vocals and horns
Scoopi­ng/­not­ching instru­ments here will provide room in the mix
Add for warmth. Too much will sound muddy
Top of the range for most subwoo­fers. Also the low end of music such as kick drums and bass guitar. Bottom end of acoustic guitar and piano. Add for warmth
Boost for strong vocal presence. Causes problems with vocal resonance and fatiguing
Slight boost for depth. Cut to reduce muddiness. This is a good area to get the "­gon­g" out of cymbals.
Boost to fatten the snare. Boost acoustic guitars slightly to add fullness. Scoop vocal here if muddy. Notch filter here can add thump to a kick drum
Cut to remove the "­car­dbo­ard­" sound of drums - Notch the bass guitar a little bit to reduce presence
Provides presence, but are hard in nature. Good for rock.
Boost the bass guitar for punch. Cut the electric guitar to remove the "­che­ap" sound
In this area you can emphasize the "­sma­ck" of the kick's beater
Good for adding to a dirty guitar for some real sizzle. Boost this area for bass guitar if using the pop/slap style
Boost for clarity with an acoustic guitar and piano

EQ Frequency breakdown (2/2)

This is the area where vocal sibilance resides. Boost slightly to add sense of "­vol­ume­" It also adds a harshness that is partic­ularly fatiguing. Add warmth without loss of clarity by attenu­ating this region a bit
Boost vocal here for presence
Bright­ness, presence, defini­tion, sibilance, high frequency distortion
Extremely tiring to the ears, add a slight notch here
Add a crisp, sharp "­cra­ck" to the snare. Also a good place to add some attack to the toms. Cut on background parts to make them sink in to the back a bit
Add for the sense of quality and accuracy for cymbals. Too much output will come off as lacking defini­tion. Cut vocals to decrease sibilance
Cut or Boost to adjust brightness for cymbals and acoustic guitar
Adding will give sparkle, shimmer, bring out details. Cutting will smooth out harshness and darken the mix
Boost to add "­air­" and clarity to acoustic instru­ments

EQ Instrument breakdown

presence (5 kHz), sibilance (7.5 ‐ 10 kHz), boom (200 ‐ 240 kHz), fullness (120 Hz)
Electric Guitar
fullness (240 Hz), bite (2.5 kHz), air / sizzle (8 kHz)
Bass Guitar
bottom (60 ‐ 80 Hz), attack (700 ‐ 1000 Hz), string noise (2.5 kHz)
Snare Drum
fatness (240 Hz), crispness (5 kHz)
Kick Drum
bottom (60 ‐ 80 Hz), slap (4 kHz)
Hi Hat & Cymbals
sizzle (7.5 ‐ 10 kHz), clank (200 Hz)
attack (5 kHz), fullness (120 ‐ 240 Hz)
Acoustic Guitar
harshness / bite (2 kHz), boom (120 ‐ 200 Hz), cut (7 ‐ 10 kHz)

EQ Helpful sugges­tions

Embrace the idea of “notch­ing”, when in doubt, cut instead of boosting.
Allow instru­ments to have their own “space” in the frequency spectrum; don’t make them fight for it.
Understand that instru­ments of the same type can and will sound different, EQ accord­ingly.
EQing WILL NOT save your mix; you can't EQ out bad sound.
Cut freque­ncies below 90Hz for vocals, they add little to the mix except mud
Listen to 15 minutes of well mixed audio before any mixing session
Limit Stereo Width to 30% except special effects
Don't forget the noise gate
The old RIAA AES mechanical rule for vinyl was to cut at 47Hz and 12k, and some great recordings were made this way. Human perception at extreme highs and lows is not all that accurate or sensitive, and a little goes a long way

EQ Glossary

the reduction of a signal level
range of freque­ncies
selected frequency levels are amplified
selected frequency are attenuated
increasing causes the sounds of voices and such instru­ments seem more "­pre­sen­t"
describes the shape of the EQ curve (higher Q = narrower range, lower Q = wider range)
refers to the hissing "­s","s­h","z­", or "­zh", sound of the human voice
sound where the bass and low mid freque­ncies have depth and where the high freque­ncies are smooth sounding opposed to aggressive or fatiguing


Very cool, Fred! I knew nothing about equalisers and after reading this I feel like I've learned something!

Invaluable chart, thanks for posting it!

This is really cool. I do a lot of recording, and this gives me some great ideas on how to improve the sound!

I'll be using this for my guitar, cheers. :)

Very good but one thing, of course you can EQ out bad sound!

does anyone know how to get rid of unwanted bass sound from noisy neighbours electronicaly

Bass sounds from neighbours tend to propagate quite far and through walls. I was going to suggest noise cancelling headphones (over-ear might help in this bass-y case).
If it's a really loud neighbour, best thing would be to go talk to them politely and explain you can hear their bass through the walls...Good luck!

There are a few good tips in this, but in the most cases it's better if you use your ears. Take it with a grain of salt.

That chart really helped me .Thanks !

God bless you!, Your advice is more useful than the;
1. Ten books I've purchased claiming to be the guide to a "Pro mix"
2. The racks of one particular music magazine and it's less than professional end result.
3. The three educational DVD I posses.
4. All those real pro’s doing all those B.S. interviews on Youtube, but not really telling sH@t.
You’re the Man!

sound good to me

Great advice and invaluable for mixing. Thankx

This is awesome! Thank you.

Very useful information. But I was wondering, if you're mixing both a kick drum and a bass guitar, how do you divi up those low frequencies? They can't share it, can they, without it sounding like the bass is fighting?

<3 u.
Thanks a million for posting this!

Every time i reference this stuff as something I know, you WILL be getting the credit!

u guys r awesome thanks a ton

Valuable information and practically good enough.

Thanks! Great chart - I am experimenting with finding the correct frequency band to notch out my wife's constant vocal hum in the background. I guess she is trying to talk to me or something along those lines, but I think I can EQ it out. Hee hee

Finally a list that is comprehensible and considers everything I need.
Thank you!

This is what a mastering enginerer understands to have commercial standard track.

Thanx.. man very helpful nd useful fr upcoming talent...

What do you mean when you use the term notching??

Stepping up to digital mixing with 4 band Parametric EQ I ws in need of exactly this sheet :-) Thanks !

You're a star. Exactly what I needed to get going. Thanks a million

Cheers, 4 sharing!

This is great info just the missing piece of the puzzle I needed I will be sharing this

Add a Comment

Your Comment

Please enter your name.

    Please enter your email address

      Please enter your Comment.

          Related Cheat Sheets

          AngularJS Cheat Sheet
          Poker Cheat Sheet
          mpv Media Player Keyboard Shortcuts

          More Cheat Sheets by fredv

          Gmail Keyboard Shortcuts
          Qlikview v10 Reference Keyboard Shortcuts
          Google Documents shortcut keys Cheat Sheet